Tabletop Publishing is happy to share the wonderful Laura Gilliand's story behind the story for readers everywhere.
"My new book, Super Signers, is all about kids finding the courage to be themselves and embrace their differences. I want kids to understand that it's okay to be anxious and unsure when they're in school. I also want them to realize that kindness and inclusion are great ways to make new friends and find their way in life. Kindness really does lead the way." stated Laura.
What inspired you to write your story?
"I'm a fourth-grade teacher, and I understand how anxiety can be triggered by the unknown. I wanted to write a book that would show kids it's okay to feel this way, and that by acknowledging their anxiety and trying to adapt, they can get through it," she said.
"I also deeply believe that kindness can go a long way in bringing people together and making for a happier time."
"A few years ago, I had the pleasure of working at a school with a population of deaf/hard-of-hearing students. It was amazing to see how inclusive everyone was in the school. They even had a sign language club, which is what inspired the general idea of the story's plot." she explained.
What was the hardest part of your journey in creating this book?
"The hardest part of creating this book was trying to find the time to write it. I'm a mom of four kids and I work full-time as a teacher, so it was tough to find the time to sit down and actually write the book."
"There were also times when I doubted myself, thinking that the book wasn't good enough or that it wasn't worth finishing," she said.
"But I didn't let those thoughts win, and I'm glad I finished the book."
What was the most inspiring part of your journey in creating this book?
"I struggled to come up with an idea for the kindness project in the book. However, I had a sudden inspiration in the middle of the night and quickly jotted down some notes so I wouldn't forget them by morning," she said.
"I was also motivated by how well the story flowed from beginning to end, despite starting with such a brief and simple idea."
"Once I finished the rough draft, I asked a few of my students to read it and give me their thoughts."
"It was incredibly rewarding and exciting to receive positive feedback from them, as they were exactly the target audience I had in mind when writing the book."
They also helped me improve the story by suggesting a different ending. Overall, it was a great experience involving them in the process.
Who helped or inspired you through your journey as an author?
"I couldn't do what I do without the help of my students. They're always willing to dive into their assigned topics and write amazing pieces. I feel like we inspire each other to be creative and tell stories," Larua explained.
"Plus, she added, "my husband and kids are great listeners (and encouragers!) who will hear me out on ideas, give me their opinions, and even read my work. And last but not least, my friend Kat is a great accountability partner."
We both write books, so we check in with each other often to see what we've written recently and give feedback.
Follow Laura on IG @lauragilliand14